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The Field Study Handbook

Dehdadi: The Rider

I’m now working on my third publication, The Field Study Handbook.

The handbook contains everything I wish I’d known starting out, drawing on over a decade’s field research for many of the world’s most interesting and successful organisations. The approach described in the handbook has resulted in products that are in the hands of hundreds of millions of consumers today.

I’ve been working on this for well over a year, with a couple more chapters to write before it needs to go through a lengthy editorial process. Taking a sabbatical has helped – after a year of being based out of San Francisco with the normal non-stop travel schedule I’m finally enjoying the nuanced benefits of living in this quaint little seaside town: a couple of hours of writing before sun up, a commute that runs through Marin county and taking the time for long walks and deep discussions with people I respect and admire.

But what role can field research possibly play in a world consumer tracking, digital exhausts and data-science?

The art and science of asking smart questions applies to any insight practice, regardless of how data is collected. Good field research gives people an understanding that goes well beyond what the data seems to show, to why, and a very real understanding of consequences of design and strategy decisions. In a globalised economy, and connected society it is an deep understanding of diverse contexts that provides an edge in decision making.

It would probably surprise many of you to know that companies are known for quant-data-driven decision-making are also hiring more people with real-world field experience. I’m happy to say many members of our team have been poached by our clients – it is a testament to their skills, a deep understanding of the principles behind this approach, and its ability to derive value.

To celebrate the book announcement I’m releasing three limited edition prints from field assignments in Afghanistan, India and Tibet: The Rider, The Carriage and K-Pop Dancer.

You can browse The Field Study Handbook site, table of contents and more here.

Lots of work to do.

See you on the other side.